Author Topic: 7 year relationship. No sexual desire. She wants to get married. Any Counselors?  (Read 66029 times)

Inaya

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I was on the pill for almost 10 years, and it (combined with stress and relationship issues) murdered my libido. Zero interest. Stress and relationship issues went away, but my sex drive didn't come back. Swapped from pill to hormonal IUD two years ago, and it's been a world of difference (and bonus, almost no periods!). I went from no interest at all to downright enthusiastic. It's not what it was, but I'm not 22 anymore, either. So it very well could be the BC. However, it took me 3-6 months to "recover" from the pill, so I wouldn't expect instant results.

limeandpepper

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Don't think this has been mentioned (and if this is too personal you don't have to answer) but does she masturbate? I mean, is she just not interested in sex with you, or is she not interested in sex at all? Has she ever had an orgasm and does she get there easily? Might she have some kind of condition (e.g. vaginismus, or maybe it could well be a side effect from the pill)? And have you literally not had sex at all for several years?

I probably understand you more than most here. I'm in a relationship that has pretty minimal physical intimacy these days (though there is still some, occasionally, and there are even rare phases when it increases significantly for a while). We have been together for ten years and we adore each other, still make each other laugh all the time, have enjoyable conversations and have lots of fun, just not so much in that department, even though it used to be great, and still can be when he's interested.

We have recently opened up the relationship on my side so that I can get my needs met, and I am honestly so much happier these days. Given your girlfriend's personality, this doesn't seem like a plausible option for you at all, so all I can say is, don't get engaged or married until you're on the right track. And there's the possibility that you might not be able to get back on the right track, in which case, break up. Because not having your physical needs met for the rest of your life will really wear you down. You might have times when you're alright with it but the issue will always come back again. Rejection sucks, not having physical intimacy sucks. Right now I can't believe how much I've put up on missing out on for so many years and I'm just incredibly glad that I get to have it again.

zoochadookdook

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I was on the pill for almost 10 years, and it (combined with stress and relationship issues) murdered my libido. Zero interest. Stress and relationship issues went away, but my sex drive didn't come back. Swapped from pill to hormonal IUD two years ago, and it's been a world of difference (and bonus, almost no periods!). I went from no interest at all to downright enthusiastic. It's not what it was, but I'm not 22 anymore, either. So it very well could be the BC. However, it took me 3-6 months to "recover" from the pill, so I wouldn't expect instant results.

I'm wanting her to stop and she will after the cruise. Asking for intimacy seems hard as it's not a single thing I can describe-but rather developing or understanding if she can develop a libido towards me. I know she doesn't have one currently and that's why it's easy for her to overlook it as such a important factor.

zoochadookdook

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Don't think this has been mentioned (and if this is too personal you don't have to answer) but does she masturbate? I mean, is she just not interested in sex with you, or is she not interested in sex at all? Has she ever had an orgasm and does she get there easily? Might she have some kind of condition (e.g. vaginismus, or maybe it could well be a side effect from the pill)? And have you literally not had sex at all for several years?

I probably understand you more than most here. I'm in a relationship that has pretty minimal physical intimacy these days (though there is still some, occasionally, and there are even rare phases when it increases significantly for a while). We have been together for ten years and we adore each other, still make each other laugh all the time, have enjoyable conversations and have lots of fun, just not so much in that department, even though it used to be great, and still can be when he's interested.

We have recently opened up the relationship on my side so that I can get my needs met, and I am honestly so much happier these days. Given your girlfriend's personality, this doesn't seem like a plausible option for you at all, so all I can say is, don't get engaged or married until you're on the right track. And there's the possibility that you might not be able to get back on the right track, in which case, break up. Because not having your physical needs met for the rest of your life will really wear you down. You might have times when you're alright with it but the issue will always come back again. Rejection sucks, not having physical intimacy sucks. Right now I can't believe how much I've put up on missing out on for so many years and I'm just incredibly glad that I get to have it again.

we haven't for at least 6 years. She has no urges or libido at all. It's difficult to impress on her the gravity of why it's so important to me because she just hasn't felt that. I'm suspecting it's the BC (hoping it is). She doesn't see how she can make herself feel or act that way because she chemically can't feel that in her mind/body.

lhamo

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Not sure how deep you went in therapy, but it sounds to me like she may be someone with a trauma history.  Not easy to work through, and she may not even realize it.  Might be worth delving into if you really, want to try to salvage things.

Possible, I suppose, but these are two people in their mid-twenties who've been together since they were 18 and were sexually active together at the start of the relationship.  OP's girlfriend seems to consider OP's affair to have been the "trauma history".  Her being demi-sexual seems to me the more likely answer from that history, and that is not a cause for therapy, just being on a different sexual spectrum from OP.

Most 18 year old girls whose boyfriend of a few months cheated on them would dump his ass and move on, maybe by redefining their relationship as the friendship it obviously is rather than trying to fake a romantic relationship for all these years, and both would probably have been happier for it.

I'm going to push back a bit here and suggest that OP at least ask his GF if there is any chance she might have a past history of abuse.  I'm not trying to pathologize demisexuality -- actually now that I know the term exists, I think it probably applies to me!  But it is pretty clear the GF already HAS a strong emotional bond and wants to maintain it --she wouldn't have stayed with him this long unless that was the case.  I don't think she is faking a romantic attachment.  But it seems that the infidelity was traumatizing to her in some way.  Maybe she just has general issues with insecure attachment.  But maybe the affair was so triggering to her -- in ways that normal people can't understand -- because she has a history that not all people share.  It is possible to have years of a "normal" physical relationship with someone and then have things go off the rails due to physical or emotional triggers.   

Anyway, since they both seem to care deeply for each other and want to get past this, I thought I'd offer another perspective.  An abuse history -- known/recognized or not -- could explain much of her behavior.  And it is NOT abnormal for someone to have those memories walled off so well that they don't come out until a crisis drives them out.


ysette9

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Has your GF/friend seen a doctor to talk about her loss of libido? It doesn’t seem normal for someone of that age to lose it completely.

zoochadookdook

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Has your GF/friend seen a doctor to talk about her loss of libido? It doesnít seem normal for someone of that age to lose it completely.

It doesnt and I'm hoping to speak to her about seeing a girl doctor tomorrow

zoochadookdook

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Not sure how deep you went in therapy, but it sounds to me like she may be someone with a trauma history.  Not easy to work through, and she may not even realize it.  Might be worth delving into if you really, want to try to salvage things.

Possible, I suppose, but these are two people in their mid-twenties who've been together since they were 18 and were sexually active together at the start of the relationship.  OP's girlfriend seems to consider OP's affair to have been the "trauma history".  Her being demi-sexual seems to me the more likely answer from that history, and that is not a cause for therapy, just being on a different sexual spectrum from OP.

Most 18 year old girls whose boyfriend of a few months cheated on them would dump his ass and move on, maybe by redefining their relationship as the friendship it obviously is rather than trying to fake a romantic relationship for all these years, and both would probably have been happier for it.

I'm going to push back a bit here and suggest that OP at least ask his GF if there is any chance she might have a past history of abuse.  I'm not trying to pathologize demisexuality -- actually now that I know the term exists, I think it probably applies to me!  But it is pretty clear the GF already HAS a strong emotional bond and wants to maintain it --she wouldn't have stayed with him this long unless that was the case.  I don't think she is faking a romantic attachment.  But it seems that the infidelity was traumatizing to her in some way.  Maybe she just has general issues with insecure attachment.  But maybe the affair was so triggering to her -- in ways that normal people can't understand -- because she has a history that not all people share.  It is possible to have years of a "normal" physical relationship with someone and then have things go off the rails due to physical or emotional triggers.   

Anyway, since they both seem to care deeply for each other and want to get past this, I thought I'd offer another perspective.  An abuse history -- known/recognized or not -- could explain much of her behavior.  And it is NOT abnormal for someone to have those memories walled off so well that they don't come out until a crisis drives them out.

I believe she's issue free aside from the trauma I caused and one of her first boyfriends at a young age. It was unhealthy in that he saw her as his only source of happiness and tried to kill himself when they broke up. She has said this doesn't affect her but it might? I'm hoping to talk to her tomorrow and tell her the sex isn't as important as her establishing her own healthy libido again whether it is emotional or physical.
She does love me and I know she isn't just this spiteful unfeeling person.

sol

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we haven't for at least 6 years.

If you have stayed in an asexual relationship for six years, while pining for sex that entire time, that is more than half your fault.  You screwed up.  You failed to communicate your needs, you failed to escape a dysfunctional situation, and you wasted everyone's time.  You created this bad situation.  You had (and still have) the power to end it at any time, and instead you chose whatever this mess is? 

At this point, it appears that your best options are...

1) marry the girl and never have sex again.  This is what you have been doing for six years, so what's 60 more?

2) break up with the girl asap, suffer through the misery of it, and hope you can both move on to something better in the future.  Doing it today is kinder than doing it tomorrow.

because right now you're choosing the shittiest option, option 3, which is still no sex, and also no marriage, and no progress and no happiness and no chance for anything to ever get better.  You're only choosing option 3 because it is the inertia position, the status quo no-effort nothing changes option, but it's still an option and you're still choosing it by doing nothing, without realizing how much worse you're making everything.

wenchsenior

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I was on the pill for almost 10 years, and it (combined with stress and relationship issues) murdered my libido. Zero interest. Stress and relationship issues went away, but my sex drive didn't come back. Swapped from pill to hormonal IUD two years ago, and it's been a world of difference (and bonus, almost no periods!). I went from no interest at all to downright enthusiastic. It's not what it was, but I'm not 22 anymore, either. So it very well could be the BC. However, it took me 3-6 months to "recover" from the pill, so I wouldn't expect instant results.

per Inaya and limeandpepper, I had asked about desire/masturbation earlier, so I'm glad the OP tried to answer.  A complete lack of libido could definitely indicate hormonal problems/effects of the pill. Also, if the OP's gf has been on the pill to regulate irregular periods, that could indicate a further underlying hormonal imbalance (as with polycistic ovary syndrome etc), which can ALSO affect libido.

Any type of hormonal birth control can absolutely destroy even previously strong libido/responsiveness.  It happened to me in college, and later it happened to one of my sisters in her 30s when she went on the same type of pill (she also had her only episode of severe depression from that pill).  Every woman is different, and every woman responds differently to different types/amounts of hormones, both natural and synthetic.  When I was on (that particular type) of pill, I had ZERO interest (no masturbation, hardly any sexual thoughts) and had very little responsiveness. I could orgasm if I put a lot of effort into it, but there was no spontaneous flow of sexual feeling. ETA: It can definitely take several months off the Pill to get any idea what your natural cycle and libido might be like, so don't expect a quick answer there (though in some women the change is clear within a couple of weeks).

Chronic stress can also really reduce libido, and that's one a lot of people deal with.

I've long been off the pill, but even now many years later, my libido is FAR more affected by where I am in my cycle than any kind of relationship issues (aside from active fighting/hostility).  It's fairly low for about 10 days, jumps up like crazy around ovulation, than gradually tapers off for the next 10 days or so.  Same with my physical responsiveness...super slow starter for about 10 days, wham bam thank you ma'am for a few days, then a nice middle ground for another 10 days.  This is good to know b/c it means I can probably  expect to have a generally low-ish libido after menopause, and will have to adjust within our marriage accordingly.

There really are some women for whom sexual response is more similar to men's than common wisdom would have us believe.  We know men's sex drive is hugely affected by testosterone; I'm not sure why it seems so surprising that for some women it works very similarly.

Btw, certainly any kind of sensual touch should be tried when 'testing the ground' so to speak, but I can tell you that a massage would just be a massage to me (relaxing and wonderful, but not arousing even if it focused on erogenous zones) during some days of the month. Other days, just a kiss on the neck could get me a third of the way there, as it were.

The OP might take some comfort in the idea that, if your gf's low libido is hormonal in origin, then it isn't necessarily a lack of sexual response to YOU personally.  I have had the same partner for decades. My level of interest in sex with him has surprisingly little to do with what he is doing/what efforts he's making. In other words, I generally ALWAYS find him attractive and am receptive to the idea of sex with him, but my body-level interest in sex with him isn't always on the same wavelength and has far more to do with what's going on in my own body.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2019, 10:11:04 PM by wenchsenior »

former player

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Not sure how deep you went in therapy, but it sounds to me like she may be someone with a trauma history.  Not easy to work through, and she may not even realize it.  Might be worth delving into if you really, want to try to salvage things.

Possible, I suppose, but these are two people in their mid-twenties who've been together since they were 18 and were sexually active together at the start of the relationship.  OP's girlfriend seems to consider OP's affair to have been the "trauma history".  Her being demi-sexual seems to me the more likely answer from that history, and that is not a cause for therapy, just being on a different sexual spectrum from OP.

Most 18 year old girls whose boyfriend of a few months cheated on them would dump his ass and move on, maybe by redefining their relationship as the friendship it obviously is rather than trying to fake a romantic relationship for all these years, and both would probably have been happier for it.

I'm going to push back a bit here and suggest that OP at least ask his GF if there is any chance she might have a past history of abuse.  I'm not trying to pathologize demisexuality -- actually now that I know the term exists, I think it probably applies to me!  But it is pretty clear the GF already HAS a strong emotional bond and wants to maintain it --she wouldn't have stayed with him this long unless that was the case.  I don't think she is faking a romantic attachment.  But it seems that the infidelity was traumatizing to her in some way.  Maybe she just has general issues with insecure attachment.  But maybe the affair was so triggering to her -- in ways that normal people can't understand -- because she has a history that not all people share.  It is possible to have years of a "normal" physical relationship with someone and then have things go off the rails due to physical or emotional triggers.   

Anyway, since they both seem to care deeply for each other and want to get past this, I thought I'd offer another perspective.  An abuse history -- known/recognized or not -- could explain much of her behavior.  And it is NOT abnormal for someone to have those memories walled off so well that they don't come out until a crisis drives them out.

You might be right, of course.  But I am mostly concerned about OP here (he is the forum member, after all) and I'm worried that the various solutions being suggested to him just lock him into this difficult situation for months (will coming off the pill make a difference?) or years (therapy for possible deep-seated issues that even his friend doesn't currently recognise) more, making it difficult to him to follow through on his resolve that he deserves the chance to find a sexual relationship and giving his friend continued hope of this relationship turning into engagement/marriage without needing to include sex - which is apparently what she would be most happy with.  I think OP needs to set a deadline, just to himself, for either resolving the issue or ending the relationship, otherwise there will always be one other thing to try, or one more attempt by his girlfriend to get an engagement, and this could drag on for years more when it has already dragged on for far too many.

Roots&Wings

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Well done for having these conversations and approaching it from a place of understanding each other's needs to see if there's a way to work this out, or move on with a better understanding of what you both need in a relationship.

Why does she need an engagement to commit sexually? Why does OP need sex before committing to her? There are core underlying beliefs at the bottom of those questions.

As Llamo points out, there is definitely something major underlying her thinking on this issue (insecure attachment/fear could be involved). It sounds like sex for her is seen as a life commitment, it's a big deal to her, and she doesn't want to go there again if someone isn't equally committed for life.

Either way, it is good to have a counselor to help navigate these issues. The possibility of ending a 7 year relationship is undoubtedly hard, and hopefully through the process, you both arrive at a better understanding of each other's needs and realize why things will or won't work out. It can be a lot to process.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 06:19:13 AM by Roots&Wings »

zoochadookdook

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That is essentially what it comes down to. She feels out of waiting until engagement she is saving herself from being hurt. She was hurt previously by sex outside our relationship and has sense locked it out. I believe if her BC is an issue that helps to cement her resolves but she doesn't necessarily see it as a issue due to thinking that way.

As far as why I stayed so long-I guess I never really felt like I deserved that part of a relationship. I didn't know what her resolves were towards it, how she had no libido, or that she had planned to wait. I thought If I was the best I could be in every other aspect we would just sort it out when the time was right and neither of us discussed it.

I want to try to work to a point where we both are excited and want to be engaged. Any commitment with reservations is-in my mind-not a true option. To her this only means she can look at her own resolves and ideals towards sex and she can see if she can break them-despite no engagement from my end. That makes her feel vulnerable and open to being hurt which obviously isn't my intent but I can see why.

I'm really at a loss for what to suggest/say/do. We both want this to work but we both don't know if it can; and i think the crazy part is we were happy as is until a few weeks ago when she really pushed to get engaged. So it's just recently that we've had these conflicting views and now it feels like we don't know how to get past this.

I've been soul searching for a while and a sex life is important and something I need to be healthy-but is it really everything? I mean it seems like it was something I could ignore and just something I could coast by without and I don't understand why I can't feel the same now? It almost feels greedy-like I don't want to get divorced and lose half my life because maybe in the future i'll resent you a bunch because we don't have a intimate relationship? But on the other hand the fact that she wants to establish one but needs a commitment for her own state of mind.....i don't know. We both have valid reasons for the way we feel.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 06:49:52 AM by zoochadookdook »

Kris

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OP, I want to point out that according to what you say above, your happiness until a couple of weeks ago was based on not communicating at all about something enormous. No sex for seven years and never talking about the reasons why?

If you needed to be in that state of denial to be happy, then I think your relationship wasn't really strong. You are talking now, and if that makes you not "happy" then that means your relationship, when you are both being honest, is not a happy one.

What you are going through now needs to happen. I'm sure it's more stressful and feels less good than your previous state. But whatever the outcome is, it is an outcome that was important and necessary.

zoochadookdook

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I was on the pill for almost 10 years, and it (combined with stress and relationship issues) murdered my libido. Zero interest. Stress and relationship issues went away, but my sex drive didn't come back. Swapped from pill to hormonal IUD two years ago, and it's been a world of difference (and bonus, almost no periods!). I went from no interest at all to downright enthusiastic. It's not what it was, but I'm not 22 anymore, either. So it very well could be the BC. However, it took me 3-6 months to "recover" from the pill, so I wouldn't expect instant results.

per Inaya and limeandpepper, I had asked about desire/masturbation earlier, so I'm glad the OP tried to answer.  A complete lack of libido could definitely indicate hormonal problems/effects of the pill. Also, if the OP's gf has been on the pill to regulate irregular periods, that could indicate a further underlying hormonal imbalance (as with polycistic ovary syndrome etc), which can ALSO affect libido.

Any type of hormonal birth control can absolutely destroy even previously strong libido/responsiveness.  It happened to me in college, and later it happened to one of my sisters in her 30s when she went on the same type of pill (she also had her only episode of severe depression from that pill).  Every woman is different, and every woman responds differently to different types/amounts of hormones, both natural and synthetic.  When I was on (that particular type) of pill, I had ZERO interest (no masturbation, hardly any sexual thoughts) and had very little responsiveness. I could orgasm if I put a lot of effort into it, but there was no spontaneous flow of sexual feeling. ETA: It can definitely take several months off the Pill to get any idea what your natural cycle and libido might be like, so don't expect a quick answer there (though in some women the change is clear within a couple of weeks).

Chronic stress can also really reduce libido, and that's one a lot of people deal with.

I've long been off the pill, but even now many years later, my libido is FAR more affected by where I am in my cycle than any kind of relationship issues (aside from active fighting/hostility).  It's fairly low for about 10 days, jumps up like crazy around ovulation, than gradually tapers off for the next 10 days or so.  Same with my physical responsiveness...super slow starter for about 10 days, wham bam thank you ma'am for a few days, then a nice middle ground for another 10 days.  This is good to know b/c it means I can probably  expect to have a generally low-ish libido after menopause, and will have to adjust within our marriage accordingly.

There really are some women for whom sexual response is more similar to men's than common wisdom would have us believe.  We know men's sex drive is hugely affected by testosterone; I'm not sure why it seems so surprising that for some women it works very similarly.

Btw, certainly any kind of sensual touch should be tried when 'testing the ground' so to speak, but I can tell you that a massage would just be a massage to me (relaxing and wonderful, but not arousing even if it focused on erogenous zones) during some days of the month. Other days, just a kiss on the neck could get me a third of the way there, as it were.

The OP might take some comfort in the idea that, if your gf's low libido is hormonal in origin, then it isn't necessarily a lack of sexual response to YOU personally.  I have had the same partner for decades. My level of interest in sex with him has surprisingly little to do with what he is doing/what efforts he's making. In other words, I generally ALWAYS find him attractive and am receptive to the idea of sex with him, but my body-level interest in sex with him isn't always on the same wavelength and has far more to do with what's going on in my own body.

That's the thing-she says she can't help that her body won't cooperate. I know she's willing to get off the pill once the trip ends (the 26) and I'm hoping that it is just something she's been on for so long/has been repressing her that it is something that simple we can move forward off of. She tells me she finds me attractive and we do share a strong emotional bond but i just don't think her body can feel a libido and it's out of my control.

And to answer someone above- no I don't want her to do it out of obligation. I think the root of the problem is that she has no sexual drive vs the actual sex in the relationship. I feel like that's a more reasonable thing to ask her if we can try to work on vs "I need a intimate relationship"

She feels like "why don't I want to commit to marry?" It makes her question when/if i'll be ready as she isn't able to view intimacy like I do. It's something she wants so bad due to social pressure, just standard time we've been together and how happy she is with our life. She wants to spend it all with me as a person; and I feel like i'm just hurting her by telling her why I can't right now -
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 07:05:15 AM by zoochadookdook »

zoochadookdook

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OP, I want to point out that according to what you say above, your happiness until a couple of weeks ago was based on not communicating at all about something enormous. No sex for seven years and never talking about the reasons why?

If you needed to be in that state of denial to be happy, then I think your relationship wasn't really strong. You are talking now, and if that makes you not "happy" then that means your relationship, when you are both being honest, is not a happy one.

What you are going through now needs to happen. I'm sure it's more stressful and feels less good than your previous state. But whatever the outcome is, it is an outcome that was important and necessary.

I wasn't denying it on purpose, I was embracing it. I didn't want to bring up old wounds because we were happy. I mean I stuffed the sex in the back corner because-it was only one part of a relationship. And yeah maybe I justified it in silly ways (some people wait until marriage, maybe she'll come around, I'm not going to demand something if she doesn't want to do anything, I deserve this for hurting her, maybe i'm not attractive) and it might not have been the best way to handle it-but i didn't realize that she never even considered it something we couldn't just work on once we did commit to forever. She's emotionally happy because that's not her love language and it hasn't been something she's been willing to open herself up to again. She doesn't want to have her heart broken and I get that but last night it's just like-why didn't we talk about this years ago? We could have understood each others positions and at least tried to work out how to get past it or embrace it then/

Malkynn

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OP, I think it's great that you are trying so hard to understand her position, but as much as it makes sense to her, getting engaged and feeling "chosen" will not solve any of her problems. It just won't.

Between her fixation on a "solution" which won't help at all, and the very longstanding history of not even discussing such a major issue, there's just so much that's wrong here.
You guys are nowhere near being ready for marriage.

With the additional info about her complete lack of sex drive, I'm starting to understand why she is resisting trying to work on it. It doesn't sound like her lack of sex drive actually has much to do with you. 
You either need to be okay with a possibly sexless relationship or move on and let her find someone who can accept her as she is sexually.

I honestly think that pushing her to work on this with you could be unhealthy and further traumatizing for her. I think she needs to figure herself out on her own and not go through the potential trauma of trying to force herself while not feeling totally safe.

The more you post, the more I see the only ethical and loving option to be breaking up and letting her work on herself. Let her work on her self esteem and her relationship with her own sexuality. She needs to do this for herself. She needs to learn what her actual sexual needs are without worrying about someone elses needs.

You can leave the door open to coming back together once you both know what you need and if those needs are compatible, but I don't think either of you can fully figure your own needs out honestly with so much pressure from the other.

Kris

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OP, I want to point out that according to what you say above, your happiness until a couple of weeks ago was based on not communicating at all about something enormous. No sex for seven years and never talking about the reasons why?

If you needed to be in that state of denial to be happy, then I think your relationship wasn't really strong. You are talking now, and if that makes you not "happy" then that means your relationship, when you are both being honest, is not a happy one.

What you are going through now needs to happen. I'm sure it's more stressful and feels less good than your previous state. But whatever the outcome is, it is an outcome that was important and necessary.

I wasn't denying it on purpose, I was embracing it. I didn't want to bring up old wounds because we were happy. I mean I stuffed the sex in the back corner because-it was only one part of a relationship. And yeah maybe I justified it in silly ways (some people wait until marriage, maybe she'll come around, I'm not going to demand something if she doesn't want to do anything, I deserve this for hurting her, maybe i'm not attractive) and it might not have been the best way to handle it-but i didn't realize that she never even considered it something we couldn't just work on once we did commit to forever. She's emotionally happy because that's not her love language and it hasn't been something she's been willing to open herself up to again. She doesn't want to have her heart broken and I get that but last night it's just like-why didn't we talk about this years ago? We could have understood each others positions and at least tried to work out how to get past it or embrace it then/

Right. But everything you just said is basically more words for "we did not communicate at all about something very important for years." And now that you're on the verge of getting engaged, you're finally talking about the elephant in the room -- the elephant you've been ignoring. But it's always been there, and it's gotten bigger because you tried not to think about it or look at it.

zoochadookdook

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OP, I want to point out that according to what you say above, your happiness until a couple of weeks ago was based on not communicating at all about something enormous. No sex for seven years and never talking about the reasons why?

If you needed to be in that state of denial to be happy, then I think your relationship wasn't really strong. You are talking now, and if that makes you not "happy" then that means your relationship, when you are both being honest, is not a happy one.

What you are going through now needs to happen. I'm sure it's more stressful and feels less good than your previous state. But whatever the outcome is, it is an outcome that was important and necessary.

I wasn't denying it on purpose, I was embracing it. I didn't want to bring up old wounds because we were happy. I mean I stuffed the sex in the back corner because-it was only one part of a relationship. And yeah maybe I justified it in silly ways (some people wait until marriage, maybe she'll come around, I'm not going to demand something if she doesn't want to do anything, I deserve this for hurting her, maybe i'm not attractive) and it might not have been the best way to handle it-but i didn't realize that she never even considered it something we couldn't just work on once we did commit to forever. She's emotionally happy because that's not her love language and it hasn't been something she's been willing to open herself up to again. She doesn't want to have her heart broken and I get that but last night it's just like-why didn't we talk about this years ago? We could have understood each others positions and at least tried to work out how to get past it or embrace it then/

Right. But everything you just said is basically more words for "we did not communicate at all about something very important for years." And now that you're on the verge of getting engaged, you're finally talking about the elephant in the room -- the elephant you've been ignoring. But it's always been there, and it's gotten bigger because you tried not to think about it or look at it.

yep and it's all I can do. We've been together and happy so it doesn't make sense for us to not at least try to talk it out and see if it is minor or major and then set a plan of action towards how we address them or if it's time to separate. It's just hard to do when you suck at communicating.

zoochadookdook

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OP, I think it's great that you are trying so hard to understand her position, but as much as it makes sense to her, getting engaged and feeling "chosen" will not solve any of her problems. It just won't.

Between her fixation on a "solution" which won't help at all, and the very longstanding history of not even discussing such a major issue, there's just so much that's wrong here.
You guys are nowhere near being ready for marriage.

With the additional info about her complete lack of sex drive, I'm starting to understand why she is resisting trying to work on it. It doesn't sound like her lack of sex drive actually has much to do with you. 
You either need to be okay with a possibly sexless relationship or move on and let her find someone who can accept her as she is sexually.

I honestly think that pushing her to work on this with you could be unhealthy and further traumatizing for her. I think she needs to figure herself out on her own and not go through the potential trauma of trying to force herself while not feeling totally safe.

The more you post, the more I see the only ethical and loving option to be breaking up and letting her work on herself. Let her work on her self esteem and her relationship with her own sexuality. She needs to do this for herself. She needs to learn what her actual sexual needs are without worrying about someone elses needs.

You can leave the door open to coming back together once you both know what you need and if those needs are compatible, but I don't think either of you can fully figure your own needs out honestly with so much pressure from the other.

I think it's a good point that she needs to learn her actual needs vs worrying about mine. I think a lot of the conflict on her end is "how can I make him want to marry me". She doesn't see it as a fix or such-she sees it as the next logical step to her. She has a need that requires being engaged and it's reinforced by her friends, family, her own beliefs and her image of how our relationship is.

She's resisting working on it because it doesn't exist. Before mentioning it she was ready to be married (happy with me, with us, etc). She said she had planned on establishing a relationship like that in marriage but we'd still have to find a compromise of how much that made us both happy. So to her it's either force an action that she's trying to save until marriage to be special and complete with the person she's spending forever with-and possibly not change my mind about marriage or we break up. By reinforcing my position that it's not the right time to get engaged i've cornered her to those 2 options. I have said the better option in my mind would be her stopping bc and just seeing if she can develop a libido but I think that may be too much in too long of a wait for her.

Boofinator

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Sex is not sexy if both people aren't fully enjoying it. Here's how I see things most likely playing out: if she decides to have sex with you it will be out of some sort of obligation, you will likely pick up on that vibe, it will result in substandard sex, and in short time you will want to have sex with her about as much as she wants to have sex with you. And then you'll be back to where you started.

If physical intimacy is important to you, this relationship has lottery-level odds of making you happy in the future. If physical intimacy is not important to you, than it sounds like you two are happy in most other respects so things could work out favorably.

RetiredAt63

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If she has absolutely no libido, she really really needs to be talking with her doctor.  And has she told her doctor that the BC has turned off her libido?

And maybe a new doctor, one who actually thinks it is important that they figure out why her periods are so bad, and what can be done medically that does not turn her libido totally off, instead of just putting her on a particular brand of pill and not asking her about side effects (loss of libido is a big side effect).   She hasn't had urges for so long (6 years, at least, from what you have written) that she has forgotten that she can have them. 

Seriously, this is starting to sound more and more like the BC is a big part of the issue.  Of course we then circle back to why she was willing to put up with this  nasty side effect for however many years she has been on that pill.  Or maybe she just didn't realise how big a side effect it was becasue you were letting things slide.  You two really do need to work on discussing big issues, becasue if this does improve and you do end up getting married, there will be all sorts of other big issues that will need discussing, not ignoring.

zoochadookdook

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Sex is not sexy if both people aren't fully enjoying it. Here's how I see things most likely playing out: if she decides to have sex with you it will be out of some sort of obligation, you will likely pick up on that vibe, it will result in substandard sex, and in short time you will want to have sex with her about as much as she wants to have sex with you. And then you'll be back to where you started.

If physical intimacy is important to you, this relationship has lottery-level odds of making you happy in the future. If physical intimacy is not important to you, than it sounds like you two are happy in most other respects so things could work out favorably.

True-and I don't want it out of obligation and i've told her that but she doesn't know how else we can move forward on that. My only idea was to hope it was related to hormones and by being on BC for 7 years she just hasn't ever felt that aspect of a drive-and that if she got off it we could try to establish she has wants and needs and feelings in that way towards me.

Boofinator

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Sex is not sexy if both people aren't fully enjoying it. Here's how I see things most likely playing out: if she decides to have sex with you it will be out of some sort of obligation, you will likely pick up on that vibe, it will result in substandard sex, and in short time you will want to have sex with her about as much as she wants to have sex with you. And then you'll be back to where you started.

If physical intimacy is important to you, this relationship has lottery-level odds of making you happy in the future. If physical intimacy is not important to you, than it sounds like you two are happy in most other respects so things could work out favorably.

True-and I don't want it out of obligation and i've told her that but she doesn't know how else we can move forward on that. My only idea was to hope it was related to hormones and by being on BC for 7 years she just hasn't ever felt that aspect of a drive-and that if she got off it we could try to establish she has wants and needs and feelings in that way towards me.

I hope you're right. April 25th will be her last day on birth control, correct? I know it goes without saying, but use some method of birth control should sexy time erupt (such as condoms).

Captain FIRE

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OP, at times you suggest that she won't even try unless engaged, but at other times you seem to say that she will try, she just thinks the best chance is if she feels the secure commitment of an engagement.  Which is it?

From my perspective, you guys have not tried everything shy of engagement.  You could for example:
- Try touching/petting (sex off the table)
- Have her see a sex therapist
- Individual counseling for her (I understand she's started seeing someone, but this takes time)
- Couples counseling to strengthen your relationship bonds
- Going off the pill

If she refuses to try anything except engagement, I think you have your answer.  I appreciate she thinks engagement may be the "best" approach, but given that it's your rock and hard place, if you are both really committed to working through the issue, it seems to me that you guys should try everything else you can before asking one of you to sacrifice their principles.

I echo another poster who says the issue is that she's asking for you to fix her feelings, when that's on her.  She needs to derive her confidence internally rather than externally, because she can't control external factors.

I'll repeat again my concern from our PMs, that you can only get engaged once but a marriage is intended to be forever.  Engagement isn't a magic bullet that will solve underlying issues though it can paper over them (particularly initially when everyone is congratulating you and you feel rosy-eyed and happy, before the planning stage and people pestering you sets in).  How will she handle it if she feels unloved again in 5/10/20 years?  After she has a kid and feels unsexy, after you've been working long hours at a job and she feels neglected, etc?

Was she raised in a conservative environment?  I think most of us would understand if this were someone who had always wanted to wait until marriage.  (And even if she had become a born again virgin, that might be understandable too if she had clearly articulated reasons for it.)  But instead, she just drifted into it, without telling you?  (And you asking - this is on both of you.)  I'm struggling to wrap my head around the idea of someone who was sexually open previously suddenly deciding that she was hurt and thus the solution was to withdraw sex rather than talk through the issues.  I don't see how not having sex protects her feelings/emotions in a long-term relationship, as I think you've suggested before as a reason for her actions.  You're still emotionally tied to someone.  Was that a test (likely not conscious one) to see if you'd stick around?  Guilt for acting sexually free previously?

In regards to not feeling "chosen" by you, did you ever tell her that you've been choosing her every day that you've been in a relationship the past 6 years without sex, as sexual intimacy/compatibility is a critical aspect of a long-term relationship for you?  And that the constant physical rejection by her makes YOU feel like you haven't been chosen by her, which makes it impossible for you to propose?

I'm sorry that it sounds like your vacation is going to be heavily shadowed by these relationship issues.  Can you get your money refunded if you decide not to go?  Can one of you bring a friend instead?

zoochadookdook

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OP, at times you suggest that she won't even try unless engaged, but at other times you seem to say that she will try, she just thinks the best chance is if she feels the secure commitment of an engagement.  Which is it?

From my perspective, you guys have not tried everything shy of engagement.  You could for example:
- Try touching/petting (sex off the table)
- Have her see a sex therapist
- Individual counseling for her (I understand she's started seeing someone, but this takes time)
- Couples counseling to strengthen your relationship bonds
- Going off the pill

If she refuses to try anything except engagement, I think you have your answer.  I appreciate she thinks engagement may be the "best" approach, but given that it's your rock and hard place, if you are both really committed to working through the issue, it seems to me that you guys should try everything else you can before asking one of you to sacrifice their principles.

I echo another poster who says the issue is that she's asking for you to fix her feelings, when that's on her.  She needs to derive her confidence internally rather than externally, because she can't control external factors.

I'll repeat again my concern from our PMs, that you can only get engaged once but a marriage is intended to be forever.  Engagement isn't a magic bullet that will solve underlying issues though it can paper over them (particularly initially when everyone is congratulating you and you feel rosy-eyed and happy, before the planning stage and people pestering you sets in).  How will she handle it if she feels unloved again in 5/10/20 years?  After she has a kid and feels unsexy, after you've been working long hours at a job and she feels neglected, etc?

Was she raised in a conservative environment?  I think most of us would understand if this were someone who had always wanted to wait until marriage.  (And even if she had become a born again virgin, that might be understandable too if she had clearly articulated reasons for it.)  But instead, she just drifted into it, without telling you?  (And you asking - this is on both of you.)  I'm struggling to wrap my head around the idea of someone who was sexually open previously suddenly deciding that she was hurt and thus the solution was to withdraw sex rather than talk through the issues.  I don't see how not having sex protects her feelings/emotions in a long-term relationship, as I think you've suggested before as a reason for her actions.  You're still emotionally tied to someone.  Was that a test (likely not conscious one) to see if you'd stick around?  Guilt for acting sexually free previously?

In regards to not feeling "chosen" by you, did you ever tell her that you've been choosing her every day that you've been in a relationship the past 6 years without sex, as sexual intimacy/compatibility is a critical aspect of a long-term relationship for you?  And that the constant physical rejection by her makes YOU feel like you haven't been chosen by her, which makes it impossible for you to propose?

I'm sorry that it sounds like your vacation is going to be heavily shadowed by these relationship issues.  Can you get your money refunded if you decide not to go?  Can one of you bring a friend instead?

She's said she would be willing possibly try but it's heavy weighing on her. She doesn't feel sexy/the need to invent this libido and is worried about the what if implications of if it doesn't just make me want to get engaged etc. She was looking towards this engagement so much that the fact that I said no to it and why I said no has her feeling confused, hurt, looking for answers.

I have suggested to her the listed intimacy objects stated and from her perspective that makes it look like it's only something she has to do on her end-she wants something on my end that show's i'm working towards engagement (why she wanted me to just even order the ring). I will reinforce these points tonight as things I believe will help us move forward.

I'll talk to her more tonight about why and when she decided to wait like that. I'm suspicious that it's more than that as no one can ignore their libido to that indifference if it exists-at least not without manifistations of unhappiness and such which isn't  how she feels. It's possible she got on this BC at a similar time point when we had started dating and it's been a potential regulator the entire time.

I actually mentioned to her going with one of her girlfriends or such and she said no she wants to go with me. I know she's going to be sad on the trip though regardless of whether or not I go. When she puts her heart, mind and effort onto something it hurts. It hurts more to not have this set answer that will get me to engagement from me.

Tyson

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Her need to get married does not outweigh you need to have physical intimacy. 

Has she even considered what would happen if you guys got married and there was no opening up on her part re: sex?

Malkynn

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Her attitude that you also need to be working towards engagement and that buying a ring would prove it is childish.
That's not how marriage works.

There is literally NOTHING you can do in this situation to make her feel more secure. Unless you are 100% okay with a potentially sexless marriage, the problem isn't your level of commitment, the problem is that you need a sex life that she may not be able to give you.

A ring won't solve that.

zoochadookdook

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Her need to get married does not outweigh you need to have physical intimacy. 

Has she even considered what would happen if you guys got married and there was no opening up on her part re: sex?
a


That's been my reasoning behind it. I've told her i've been happy in the relationship and I have had an issue with our sex life but I guess I just seriously reflected and addressed on it when she asked for engagement. I've said I can't commit to marriage when I have no basis on sex and even though you're saying you'll try and such -it's not fair to me or you for me to fake a commitment in order to get you to try to make yourself open up. It sucks because it does put the issue on her but i'm also at fault for not gaining enough self efficacy to bring it to light sooner. She feels rejected and can't understand why it's so important to me/how to fix it to get to that point because she's a different person than me.

zoochadookdook

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Her attitude that you also need to be working towards engagement and that buying a ring would prove it is childish.
That's not how marriage works.

There is literally NOTHING you can do in this situation to make her feel more secure. Unless you are 100% okay with a potentially sexless marriage, the problem isn't your level of commitment, the problem is that you need a sex life that she may not be able to give you.

A ring won't solve that.

She sees it as the other way. We've had a fulfilling relationship until now without it, why not wait until engagement. She wants it to be special and such and her mind is wired that sex is not only a good thing; but can be a emotionally hurtful thing too. I've tried explaining I've committed to her every day for the last 7 years but explaining why I can't commit to this is hard to word right.

Tyson

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Her need to get married does not outweigh you need to have physical intimacy. 

Has she even considered what would happen if you guys got married and there was no opening up on her part re: sex?
a


That's been my reasoning behind it. I've told her i've been happy in the relationship and I have had an issue with our sex life but I guess I just seriously reflected and addressed on it when she asked for engagement. I've said I can't commit to marriage when I have no basis on sex and even though you're saying you'll try and such -it's not fair to me or you for me to fake a commitment in order to get you to try to make yourself open up. It sucks because it does put the issue on her but i'm also at fault for not gaining enough self efficacy to bring it to light sooner. She feels rejected and can't understand why it's so important to me/how to fix it to get to that point because she's a different person than me.

Right.  Which is why no one (neither party) should enter into a marriage until these things are worked out.  Trust me, getting married solves ZERO problems.  It only makes existing problems worse.  And adds a whole bunch of new problems.  I wish I would have taken my own advice - I saw cracks in the relationship with my wife, even before we got married.  Now, after 23 years and a 12 year old daughter, she left and the marriage is over. 

Don't be like me.

zoochadookdook

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Her need to get married does not outweigh you need to have physical intimacy. 

Has she even considered what would happen if you guys got married and there was no opening up on her part re: sex?
a


That's been my reasoning behind it. I've told her i've been happy in the relationship and I have had an issue with our sex life but I guess I just seriously reflected and addressed on it when she asked for engagement. I've said I can't commit to marriage when I have no basis on sex and even though you're saying you'll try and such -it's not fair to me or you for me to fake a commitment in order to get you to try to make yourself open up. It sucks because it does put the issue on her but i'm also at fault for not gaining enough self efficacy to bring it to light sooner. She feels rejected and can't understand why it's so important to me/how to fix it to get to that point because she's a different person than me.

Right.  Which is why no one (neither party) should enter into a marriage until these things are worked out.  Trust me, getting married solves ZERO problems.  It only makes existing problems worse.  And adds a whole bunch of new problems.  I wish I would have taken my own advice - I saw cracks in the relationship with my wife, even before we got married.  Now, after 23 years and a 12 year old daughter, she left and the marriage is over. 

Don't be like me.

I've tried to explain marraige and engagement brings more issues so we should work through this first and she's just like "i know it seems backwards but i need this commitment". As someone who's never been married I'm interested to here how it made your problems worse/such. I tell her it complicates things more but have no real life experience how. I do know she wants kids and I'd never want to just have them to keep us together or project our feelings on and such.

Captain FIRE

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I have suggested to her the listed intimacy objects stated and from her perspective that makes it look like it's only something she has to do on her end-she wants something on my end that show's i'm working towards engagement (why she wanted me to just even order the ring). I will reinforce these points tonight as things I believe will help us move forward.

Sometimes there ARE things that just need to be worked on by one partner.  When that is the case, it's a bit ridiculous to demand that you work on something just so it's fair.

That said, there are things you can offer that aren't "working on" an engagement (which is an odd thing to say, because other than picking out a ring, and possibly if you plan a complicated proposal like a flash mob, there's no "planning" or working to it, it's just doing).  Perhaps you might suggest to her that you'll read some relationship books prepping for marriage instead, so she feels like you are doing "something".  A lot of people who do pre-cana find it useful, so I'd suggest looking into something akin to that.  To be clear - this wouldn't be "how to plan your wedding" books, but rather books/workbooks on relationships/relationship issues.

sol

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she's just like "i know it seems backwards but i need this commitment".

I would dump that girl in a heartbeat.

This is a trap.  Let's just get all totally sexist here for a minute, and talk about root biological narratives that defined our species for a hundred thousand years before the modern era.  Men could impregnate as many women as they could convince to have sex with them, and successful genetic continuation benefited from that strategy.  Women could only bear one child at a time and it was an enormous investment of their time and resources to do so, so they naturally wanted as much support as possible from a father to ensure that child survived.  Marriage is a social contract that evolved as a means of convincing men to stick around after the sex, to help contribute resources to successfully raising a child, and of offering women the security of knowing he would stick around, so she would be willing to invest in a pregnancy.  It was supposed to benefit both parties in different ways, but from a purely biological standpoint it offers little additional benefit to men.

Marriage is much more complicated today.  We have sociological entanglements of all sorts and we've made huge progress in gender equality, and birth control, and the economic independence of women.  Yet your girlfriend has reduced all of that progress down to it's ugliest and basest archaic sexist motivations.  "I won't bang unless you promise to stay" is something a caveman's girlfriend says to him, not something an enlightened woman in 2019 says.  She has full autonomy over her body, she has total control over her own reproductive schedule, she has economic independence, and she has better than equal educational and employment opportunities.  She can have sex as much or as little as she wants, basically free of repercussions, and yet she's trying to use it like a caveman cudgel to trap you in a bad situation.  It's gross.

Do you remember "If you love something, set it free.."?  If she really wanted you to be happy, she would either wish you good luck in your search for happiness with someone else, or she would do everything in her power to help you find that happiness with her.  She is doing neither.  She realizes that the current situation is good for her and bad for you, and so she's trying to trap you in it so that you can't escape.  That's not love, that's selfishness.  Manipulative, borderline evil selfishness.

I dumped a lot of girls when I was young, and cruel, and didn't know any better.  I would have dropped this one long ago.  I'd say "you obviously want something in a partner that I can't give you, and I can't give it to you because you can't give me what I want in a partner, so this relationship is just holding us both back from what we both want.  I want you to be happy, and this isn't making either of us happy, so I think you need to consider dating someone who CAN give you what you want."  And then you can hug and cry and go your separate ways.  If my experience is in any way analogous, you'll both be having dirty sex, with other people, in less than three months.  Her first.  You'll be sad that she had to torpedo your relationship in order to figure out that her romantic fantasy was stupid, but she'll be thrilled to have finally discovered her sexuality now that she's free of the stupid fantasy.  Then like two years later, she'll come on to you hard, and you'll get to 3rd base and then leave her hanging because who really needs all that bullshit again? 

Wait, was that overly specific?

Tyson

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Her need to get married does not outweigh you need to have physical intimacy. 

Has she even considered what would happen if you guys got married and there was no opening up on her part re: sex?
a


That's been my reasoning behind it. I've told her i've been happy in the relationship and I have had an issue with our sex life but I guess I just seriously reflected and addressed on it when she asked for engagement. I've said I can't commit to marriage when I have no basis on sex and even though you're saying you'll try and such -it's not fair to me or you for me to fake a commitment in order to get you to try to make yourself open up. It sucks because it does put the issue on her but i'm also at fault for not gaining enough self efficacy to bring it to light sooner. She feels rejected and can't understand why it's so important to me/how to fix it to get to that point because she's a different person than me.

Right.  Which is why no one (neither party) should enter into a marriage until these things are worked out.  Trust me, getting married solves ZERO problems.  It only makes existing problems worse.  And adds a whole bunch of new problems.  I wish I would have taken my own advice - I saw cracks in the relationship with my wife, even before we got married.  Now, after 23 years and a 12 year old daughter, she left and the marriage is over. 

Don't be like me.

I've tried to explain marraige and engagement brings more issues so we should work through this first and she's just like "i know it seems backwards but i need this commitment". As someone who's never been married I'm interested to here how it made your problems worse/such. I tell her it complicates things more but have no real life experience how. I do know she wants kids and I'd never want to just have them to keep us together or project our feelings on and such.

OK, I'll keep it only on the sex thing.  When my wife and I were dating, we were both actually very attracted to each other.  That didn't change after we got married, but what became apparent was that our sex drives were mismatched.  And our feelings/ideas about sex were different.  For her, sex was fun but it was fine if there wasn't any for periods of time.  For me, sex was actually a deep expression of love.  So every time I tried to initiate intimacy and she would subtly brush me off, it was like a knife in the heart for me.  She never understood that and never came around to feeling the same way about sex that I did (and vice versa). 

I think eventually things progressed to the point that the very idea of being physical with me at all was actually repulsive to her.  Now, I'm no Brad Pitt, but I'm reasonably attractive and reasonably fit.  So it wasn't like I 'let myself go' physically.  And I was also very emotionally committed to the relationship and to our family. 

But it wasn't enough.  And this small fissure at the beginning eventually widened and engulfed the entire marriage.  There were other issues that came up eventually that compounded things.  But make no mistake, the problems with mismatched levels of attraction and mismatched ideas re: the meaning and importance of sex is definitely one of the big drivers for splitting us up.

marble_faun

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It's sounding like there are two separate issues that have become intertwined:

(a) She feels no sexual desire whatsoever. This is not specific to you.

(b) She is worried about being vulnerable and getting hurt, as a result of your relationship history.

If the issue were only (a), it's possible that going off of hormonal birth control could help things. 

She claims that engagement will solve (b) overnight, but I'm doubtful.  After marriage, you will still be the same people with the same issues, only now with added legal entanglements.


It seems to me that the plan for her to go off BC is the best short-term option. She can see if her feelings change organically over the next few months. 

If not, sad to say, I don't think things will get better for you.  You will have to accept the circumstances as they are, or move on.

Captain FIRE

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Not the most scientific source, but it repeats what's common among a lot of these type pages:
https://www.marriage.com/advice/divorce/10-most-common-reasons-for-divorce/

Infidelity
Lack of communication
Constant arguing (same argument over and over)
Unrealistic expectations
Lack of intimacy

You're already dealing with HALF of the common issues.  As a side note, while sex may not be important in a relationship to her, from these lists it's clearly an issue for many couples with two spots (infidelity and lack of intimacy) going to them.

Roots&Wings

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She feels rejected and can't understand why it's so important to me/how to fix it to get to that point because she's a different person than me.

Exactly, this is a key issue. It is important for you to articulate WHY this is necessary and important for you. If there's no workable answer to that question that you both can understand and move forward with, then it is clearly time to move on. 

partgypsy

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You need to fix your sex life before marriage.  If that canít be fixed you wonít be happy. Even old people want sex. Itís a basic human need.  Itís much worse to get divorced than to break up with someone at this point in your relationship. Marriage is hard and kids make it harder.

I am not looking at this as harshly as others, but having compatibility in this area is important. I suspect that you hurt her, hurt her bad when you cheated, and having sex with you feels vulnerable, in that you are getting what you want, but she is not getting what she wants (commitment, security of faithfulness). And since you are asking strangers whether you should bolt, it's not going to help her feeling of security. I also ditto, for her to keep going with with therapy about this, possibly sex and relationship specific therapy about this. Not just for you and her only but for her to figure out what this all means (no sex with you, no sex for her in relationships forever?) 

I also suggest, taking sex on this trip off the table. Instead suggest that you do everything but- sex. like kissing, spooning, nice massages, etc but no piv. That would lead to less resentment on your part, and possibly feel less pressured on her part.

Here's an example. With my ex towards the end of our long relationship, even when things were not perfect I still physically wanted him, and it was literally hard for me to fall sleep without us holding each other and sleeping in the same bed together. After I found out he cheated on me, and he weasley tried to get me back in bed, YES I was still attracted to him, I wanted to kiss him, I wanted us to fall back in bed, but one of my few acts of self-preservation was not having sex with him (both my counselor at the time and my friends reinforeced this). As time went on it became easier. And now I see him as former lover/cheater, not loving hot husband.

Maybe at this point your girlfriend sees you as boyfriend/former cheater category, not loving romantic boyfriend potential husband forever. I don't know whether that is going to change or not. I think it would almost be easier for you all to start over again, in the sense of her creating a new category in her mind. This guy I really like and enjoy his company, I (hopefully) want to explore my sexuality with. With no other baggage. Because if not most likely she is going to lose you and vice versa.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 11:32:37 AM by partgypsy »

zoochadookdook

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You need to fix your sex life before marriage.  If that can’t be fixed you won’t be happy. Even old people want sex. It’s a basic human need.  It’s much worse to get divorced than to break up with someone at this point in your relationship. Marriage is hard and kids make it harder.

I am not looking at this as harshly as others, but having compatibility in this area is important. I suspect that you hurt her, hurt her bad when you cheated, and having sex with you feels vulnerable, in that you are getting what you want, but she is not getting what she wants (commitment, security of faithfulness). And since you are asking strangers whether you should bolt, it's not going to help her feeling of security. I also ditto, for her to keep going with with therapy about this, possibly sex and relationship specific therapy about this. Not just for you and her only but for her to figure out what this all means (no sex with you, no sex for her in relationships forever?) 

I also suggest, taking sex on this trip off the table. Instead suggest that you do everything but- sex. like kissing, spooning, nice massages, etc but no piv. That would lead to less resentment on your part, and possibly feel less pressured on her part.

Here's an example. With my ex towards the end of our long relationship, even when things were not perfect I still physically wanted him, and it was literally hard for me to fall sleep without us holding each other and sleeping in the same bed together. After I found out he cheated on me, and he weasley tried to get me back in bed, YES I was still attracted to him, I wanted to kiss him, I wanted us to fall back in bed, but one of my few acts of self-preservation was not having sex with him (both my counselor at the time and my friends reinforeced this). As time went on it became easier. And now I see him as former lover/cheater, not loving hot husband.

Maybe at this point your girlfriend sees you as boyfriend/former cheater category, not loving romantic boyfriend potential husband forever. I don't know whether that is going to change or not. I think it would almost be easier for you all to start over again, in the sense of her creating a new category in her mind. This guy I really like and enjoy his company, I (hopefully) want to explore my sexuality with. With no other baggage. Because if not most likely she is going to lose you and vice versa.

Yeah i've tried to delve into these categories as well. I want her to want to have a sex life/to be able to have a libido and whether or not we can establish that really depends on her willingness to spend more time and recognize it as worth trying to fix; because I can't really "proceed" to engagement without it. If she takes that as a personal rejection and has no hope for the future-I don't think i'll be able to convince her that this can be fixed. I do want to understand how she views me as a husband but hasn't been able to think about sex through now and I have hopes it is hormone dependent. HHer BBC has horrible reviews with regards to increased anxiety and decreased libido.

The confusing thing is she does view me as loving/husband material. She wants to get married and in her head up until the other week that was the outcome we both were heading towards.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 01:45:04 PM by zoochadookdook »

zoochadookdook

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It's sounding like there are two separate issues that have become intertwined:

(a) She feels no sexual desire whatsoever. This is not specific to you.

(b) She is worried about being vulnerable and getting hurt, as a result of your relationship history.

If the issue were only (a), it's possible that going off of hormonal birth control could help things. 

She claims that engagement will solve (b) overnight, but I'm doubtful.  After marriage, you will still be the same people with the same issues, only now with added legal entanglements.


It seems to me that the plan for her to go off BC is the best short-term option. She can see if her feelings change organically over the next few months. 

If not, sad to say, I don't think things will get better for you.  You will have to accept the circumstances as they are, or move on.

They definitely have and really that's kind of the only plan I have going forward. Asking if she's willing to spend more time attempting to make her feel feelings she might not be able to through stopping bc so we can establish a missing part of our relationship that I feel should be established before I'm comfortable getting engaged. It sounds like a mouthful in that context.

partgypsy

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Don't think this has been mentioned (and if this is too personal you don't have to answer) but does she masturbate? I mean, is she just not interested in sex with you, or is she not interested in sex at all? Has she ever had an orgasm and does she get there easily? Might she have some kind of condition (e.g. vaginismus, or maybe it could well be a side effect from the pill)? And have you literally not had sex at all for several years?

I probably understand you more than most here. I'm in a relationship that has pretty minimal physical intimacy these days (though there is still some, occasionally, and there are even rare phases when it increases significantly for a while). We have been together for ten years and we adore each other, still make each other laugh all the time, have enjoyable conversations and have lots of fun, just not so much in that department, even though it used to be great, and still can be when he's interested.

We have recently opened up the relationship on my side so that I can get my needs met, and I am honestly so much happier these days. Given your girlfriend's personality, this doesn't seem like a plausible option for you at all, so all I can say is, don't get engaged or married until you're on the right track. And there's the possibility that you might not be able to get back on the right track, in which case, break up. Because not having your physical needs met for the rest of your life will really wear you down. You might have times when you're alright with it but the issue will always come back again. Rejection sucks, not having physical intimacy sucks. Right now I can't believe how much I've put up on missing out on for so many years and I'm just incredibly glad that I get to have it again.

we haven't for at least 6 years. She has no urges or libido at all. It's difficult to impress on her the gravity of why it's so important to me because she just hasn't felt that. I'm suspecting it's the BC (hoping it is). She doesn't see how she can make herself feel or act that way because she chemically can't feel that in her mind/body.

I apologize I missed this post (no sex for 6 years). I agree with others the likelihood of her libido coming back is very small. I've only known 2 people like this and one was pretty much asexual but had been like that most his life, and the 2nd one was cheating with someone else.
I'm sorry and again I will say again you seem like a decent guy because most people would not have stuck around this long. Since she wants to get married and you want to be with someone you can be physically intimate, I would end this relationship. I would argue differently if she HERSELF was concerned and took active steps such as talking to a doctor, getting off bc, etc. But it sounds like she is fine with the way things are and doesn't seem to think it is an issue. That's fine if she was not in a relationship and it wasn't an important part of herself, but she IS in a relationship! Obviously if I was married to someone for many many years something medically happened where they could no longer have sex, we would still try to make it work. But this ain't that.

 
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 01:59:34 PM by partgypsy »

zoochadookdook

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Don't think this has been mentioned (and if this is too personal you don't have to answer) but does she masturbate? I mean, is she just not interested in sex with you, or is she not interested in sex at all? Has she ever had an orgasm and does she get there easily? Might she have some kind of condition (e.g. vaginismus, or maybe it could well be a side effect from the pill)? And have you literally not had sex at all for several years?

I probably understand you more than most here. I'm in a relationship that has pretty minimal physical intimacy these days (though there is still some, occasionally, and there are even rare phases when it increases significantly for a while). We have been together for ten years and we adore each other, still make each other laugh all the time, have enjoyable conversations and have lots of fun, just not so much in that department, even though it used to be great, and still can be when he's interested.

We have recently opened up the relationship on my side so that I can get my needs met, and I am honestly so much happier these days. Given your girlfriend's personality, this doesn't seem like a plausible option for you at all, so all I can say is, don't get engaged or married until you're on the right track. And there's the possibility that you might not be able to get back on the right track, in which case, break up. Because not having your physical needs met for the rest of your life will really wear you down. You might have times when you're alright with it but the issue will always come back again. Rejection sucks, not having physical intimacy sucks. Right now I can't believe how much I've put up on missing out on for so many years and I'm just incredibly glad that I get to have it again.

we haven't for at least 6 years. She has no urges or libido at all. It's difficult to impress on her the gravity of why it's so important to me because she just hasn't felt that. I'm suspecting it's the BC (hoping it is). She doesn't see how she can make herself feel or act that way because she chemically can't feel that in her mind/body.

I apologize I missed this post (no sex for 6 years). I agree with others the likelihood of her libido coming back is very small. I've only known 2 people like this and one was pretty much asexual but had been like that most his life, and the 2nd one was cheating with someone else.
I'm sorry and again I will say again you seem like a decent guy because most people would not have stuck around this long. Since she wants to get married and you want to be with someone you can be physically intimate, I would end this relationship. I would argue differently if she herself was concerned and took active steps such as talking to a doctor, getting off bc, etc. But 6 years! It sounds like she doesn't seem to think it is an issue. That's fine if she was not in a relationship and saw it as not an important aspect of herself, but she IS in a relationship!

And that's how we've arrived at this point. She doesn't know if she can break how she feels prior to engagement to attempt to rengage that. I can suggest the BC and a therapist but it's up to her alone to see those through. I can't make her do anything, especially when she realizes it takes time and that may be time she doesn't want to hurt or wonder if I'll ever want to get married or the likes.

partgypsy

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Don't think this has been mentioned (and if this is too personal you don't have to answer) but does she masturbate? I mean, is she just not interested in sex with you, or is she not interested in sex at all? Has she ever had an orgasm and does she get there easily? Might she have some kind of condition (e.g. vaginismus, or maybe it could well be a side effect from the pill)? And have you literally not had sex at all for several years?

I probably understand you more than most here. I'm in a relationship that has pretty minimal physical intimacy these days (though there is still some, occasionally, and there are even rare phases when it increases significantly for a while). We have been together for ten years and we adore each other, still make each other laugh all the time, have enjoyable conversations and have lots of fun, just not so much in that department, even though it used to be great, and still can be when he's interested.

We have recently opened up the relationship on my side so that I can get my needs met, and I am honestly so much happier these days. Given your girlfriend's personality, this doesn't seem like a plausible option for you at all, so all I can say is, don't get engaged or married until you're on the right track. And there's the possibility that you might not be able to get back on the right track, in which case, break up. Because not having your physical needs met for the rest of your life will really wear you down. You might have times when you're alright with it but the issue will always come back again. Rejection sucks, not having physical intimacy sucks. Right now I can't believe how much I've put up on missing out on for so many years and I'm just incredibly glad that I get to have it again.

we haven't for at least 6 years. She has no urges or libido at all. It's difficult to impress on her the gravity of why it's so important to me because she just hasn't felt that. I'm suspecting it's the BC (hoping it is). She doesn't see how she can make herself feel or act that way because she chemically can't feel that in her mind/body.

I apologize I missed this post (no sex for 6 years). I agree with others the likelihood of her libido coming back is very small. I've only known 2 people like this and one was pretty much asexual but had been like that most his life, and the 2nd one was cheating with someone else.
I'm sorry and again I will say again you seem like a decent guy because most people would not have stuck around this long. Since she wants to get married and you want to be with someone you can be physically intimate, I would end this relationship. I would argue differently if she herself was concerned and took active steps such as talking to a doctor, getting off bc, etc. But 6 years! It sounds like she doesn't seem to think it is an issue. That's fine if she was not in a relationship and saw it as not an important aspect of herself, but she IS in a relationship!

And that's how we've arrived at this point. She doesn't know if she can break how she feels prior to engagement to attempt to rengage that. I can suggest the BC and a therapist but it's up to her alone to see those through. I can't make her do anything, especially when she realizes it takes time and that may be time she doesn't want to hurt or wonder if I'll ever want to get married or the likes.

I'm just a stranger, but I think this doesn't look workable. She has things she needs to work on, that she is unable or unwilling to work on while you are together, because she has made some things conditional based on being engaged. That is crazy. Re the trip, either cancel it or make it clear you are going as platonic friends (i.e. NOT as a couple).

zoochadookdook

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Don't think this has been mentioned (and if this is too personal you don't have to answer) but does she masturbate? I mean, is she just not interested in sex with you, or is she not interested in sex at all? Has she ever had an orgasm and does she get there easily? Might she have some kind of condition (e.g. vaginismus, or maybe it could well be a side effect from the pill)? And have you literally not had sex at all for several years?

I probably understand you more than most here. I'm in a relationship that has pretty minimal physical intimacy these days (though there is still some, occasionally, and there are even rare phases when it increases significantly for a while). We have been together for ten years and we adore each other, still make each other laugh all the time, have enjoyable conversations and have lots of fun, just not so much in that department, even though it used to be great, and still can be when he's interested.

We have recently opened up the relationship on my side so that I can get my needs met, and I am honestly so much happier these days. Given your girlfriend's personality, this doesn't seem like a plausible option for you at all, so all I can say is, don't get engaged or married until you're on the right track. And there's the possibility that you might not be able to get back on the right track, in which case, break up. Because not having your physical needs met for the rest of your life will really wear you down. You might have times when you're alright with it but the issue will always come back again. Rejection sucks, not having physical intimacy sucks. Right now I can't believe how much I've put up on missing out on for so many years and I'm just incredibly glad that I get to have it again.

we haven't for at least 6 years. She has no urges or libido at all. It's difficult to impress on her the gravity of why it's so important to me because she just hasn't felt that. I'm suspecting it's the BC (hoping it is). She doesn't see how she can make herself feel or act that way because she chemically can't feel that in her mind/body.

I apologize I missed this post (no sex for 6 years). I agree with others the likelihood of her libido coming back is very small. I've only known 2 people like this and one was pretty much asexual but had been like that most his life, and the 2nd one was cheating with someone else.
I'm sorry and again I will say again you seem like a decent guy because most people would not have stuck around this long. Since she wants to get married and you want to be with someone you can be physically intimate, I would end this relationship. I would argue differently if she herself was concerned and took active steps such as talking to a doctor, getting off bc, etc. But 6 years! It sounds like she doesn't seem to think it is an issue. That's fine if she was not in a relationship and saw it as not an important aspect of herself, but she IS in a relationship!

And that's how we've arrived at this point. She doesn't know if she can break how she feels prior to engagement to attempt to rengage that. I can suggest the BC and a therapist but it's up to her alone to see those through. I can't make her do anything, especially when she realizes it takes time and that may be time she doesn't want to hurt or wonder if I'll ever want to get married or the likes.

I'm just a stranger, but I think this doesn't look workable. She has things she needs to work on, that she is unable or unwilling to work on while you are together, because she has made some things conditional based on being engaged. That is crazy. Re the trip, either cancel it or make it clear you are going as platonic friends (i.e. NOT as a couple).

All i can do is ask. I asked her last night if she'd rather go with her friends or sister and that i'd cover my half of the expense (she paid for it). I think that's more than reasonable but she did say she wanted to go with me. I'd like to have a more in depth conversation tonight of our options and how I feel/how I think she feels and go from there.

I care about this girl and I want us to be the best we can for eachother and for ourselves. We've been together and shared everything for so long this isn't a situation we are used to (feeling like we're both being given ultimatums). Neither of us feels willing to compromise our beliefs.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 02:13:30 PM by zoochadookdook »

ysette9

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Out of curiosity (and feel free to say if it is too personal) is there a reason she isn’t stopping birth control today instead of later this month?

zoochadookdook

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Out of curiosity (and feel free to say if it is too personal) is there a reason she isnít stopping birth control today instead of later this month?

yep we had a cruise planned 15th-26th and when girls get off bc their hormones go wonky. She's missed a pill or 2 and had to recycle a few times and it always gives her some nasua/breaking out. She wanted to have a nice vacation.

Cassie

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Obviously if I was married to someone for many many years something medically happened where they could no longer have sex, we would still try to make it work. But this ain't that.


Partgypsy:  we are seniors and some of our friends have had this happen and no one is divorcing over it.  But the difference is that the lack of sex is medical and the marriages were long and happy so this is just something that happens.  It's totally different then being young and accepting a sexless marriage.  The marriage will not survive with such a difference in libido.

RetiredAt63

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This is a trap.  Let's just get all totally sexist here for a minute, and talk about root biological narratives that defined our species for a hundred thousand years before the modern era.  Men could impregnate as many women as they could convince to have sex with them, and successful genetic continuation benefited from that strategy.  Women could only bear one child at a time and it was an enormous investment of their time and resources to do so, so they naturally wanted as much support as possible from a father to ensure that child survived.  Marriage is a social contract that evolved as a means of convincing men to stick around after the sex, to help contribute resources to successfully raising a child, and of offering women the security of knowing he would stick around, so she would be willing to invest in a pregnancy.  It was supposed to benefit both parties in different ways, but from a purely biological standpoint it offers little additional benefit to men.


The biologist in me has to jump in here.

When we look at monogamy versus polygamy, we see monogamy in species where both parents are needed to successfully raise offspring.  We don't see it where one parent (usually but not always the female) can do it all by her/his self.

We see monogamy more in birds than mammals, because both parents can feed the offspring (they are not mammals) and when babies are hatched  helpless (think robins, raptors) it takes two parents to feed them.  We also see the female birds in monogamous species put the courting male to a lot of effort before she accepts him - she wants to get good genes and a mate who will stick around.  Females of species who will raise their babies by themselves also test the males, just for other characteristics.  In some polygamous species very few males will do the mating, most males won't get to do any at all.  Monogamy is actually a good deal for human men, they may only have one (or a few) women, but they are not in a situation where powerful men have huge harems and most young men will be totally excluded.  Read the bible for examples.  Not to mention Genghis Khan's genetic legacy, his Y chromosome is all over the place where  his empire lasted longest.

Monogamy is less common in mammals becasue in most cases the mother can feed the baby(ies) all by herself.  Males may have various social roles but being Daddy is not one of them.  We do see monogamy where it takes both parents -  wolf packs and meerkat colonies (alpha female is the only one to have babies), beavers  (generally takes 2 to start a beaver colony because of the work of building the dam, and in a larger colony the extra beavers are last year's babies), for example.

Obviously humans are not innately monogamous, or polygamy would not be a social issue ever.  However in most human societies a woman will not have a lot of success rearing her children alone, especially if she has lots of them (i.e. most of human history).  Since, when we really get down to basics, the point of sex is to have offspring (speaking biologically here, not socially) any social setup that improves the success of his offspring will be of long-term benefit to a man.  If he is a lousy father his offspring will not do well, and his genes won't get  passed on as much as if he had been a good father.  Of course there are lots of other hazards - when a woman might bear 15 children and have 1 or 2 survive, how good a father he was may matter less.  Unless his behaviour is a contributing factor to the children's deaths.  Part of the problem is that this is not true for our close relatives the chimpanzees and bonobos.   It is true for some other primates, so it is not just us that form monogamous bonds, but we are starting from scratch, so to speak.

There are lots of ideas floating around as to why we went this route, but since they are all "just-so" stories it is hard to say how important various factors were.


OP has to deal with life today, not our evolutionary past, so back to our regularly scheduled programming. 

Given what I wrote, with reliable birth control there is no biological reason to get married until children are planned.  At that point marriage is important because it gives legal protection to the children.  Which in case of a divorce means child support and possible alimony (if a parent, usually the woman. has never developed much of a job history because s/he was a SAHP, that is a liability to the children unless the other parent continues to provide some support to the stay at home parent).  If we stop looking at marriage laws as something to protect the participants, and look at them as protection for the adults but more importantly for the children, they make more sense.

Back in the day we got married becasue once we started having sex we were going to be having children (barring infertility).  Now a couple can get their relationship on a good footing (including the sex part) before they start thinking marriage and children.

fuzzy math

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Her expecting to give you sex on the cruise is going to go over as well as you having to propose on the cruise. It's not going to be willing, and she's likely going to cry and freak the fuck out because she's going to feel like she is being forced to have sex with you. Whatever issues she has aren't going to be solved magically on the trip by giving sex a test drive again. It's going to take months of therapy for her to discover and recover herself. As Kris said (I think) above, it's something she really needs to do when she's single.

So maybe she hasn't had urges in 6 years. But she never once thought about you? Sorry if this is crass, but she at least ought to have been jerking you off all this time. I don't think that's the case though. You are essentially going on a cruise as a first date with a stranger. That's a lot of pressure to suddenly develop a sexual relationship and feelings with someone when you can't physically be separate at all on the boat. Please re-think this.